49. Lotus 72E 1974

S4833 Lotus 72E No.30 South African GP 1974 – Paddy Driver

John Surtees was the most famous. But also Mike “the Bike” Hailwood was one of the rare species of racers who have successfully switched from two to four wheels. The name Paddy Driver may not be quite familiar in this context. But the today 83-year-old South African however was a brilliant motorbike-racer. After all he was third in the 500ccm-world-championship  in 1965 – behind Mike Hailwood and the great Giacomo Agostini. Although Paddy Driver was already gaining experience in auto racing in the early Sixties he finally changed to four wheels only after his brilliant success in 1965. In South Africa he raced Formula and Touring cars in the mid-1960s. In 1974 he took the challenge of his home Grand Prix for the second time. The first attempt in 1963 in a Lotus 24 ended with an accident during the practice. At the second attempt in 1974 Driver qualified his Lotus 72E for the last row. In the race Driver abandoned after only six laps with a clutch failure. For Driver this was the end of his Formula 1 career. Also sponsor and team owner “Gunston”, a cigarette brand from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), only appeared the following year. However the achievement of the private racing team should not be dismissed. The team once founded by racing driver John Love was number 1 on African soil in the Sixties. They won several championships and titles. And in 1967 Gunston (at this time only a sponsor and with a car from Cooper) almost wrote F1-history. Founder John Love took over the lead at the Grand Prix in Kyalami 20 laps before the end of the race. And kept this leading position until seven laps to the end. Then he had to pit again for a “splash & dash”. And finally became a sensational second. The Lotus 72E of Paddy Driver is not the first model in Gunston-colours made by Spark in 1:43. The LDS of South African driver Sam Tingle (from 1968) is also available. And already announced: the Lotus 49 with John Love of 1969.

 

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